Thursday, February 22, 2007

Reading Lolita cont.

Cont. from this post.

An on-line friend commented that she would have preferred more about the students Nafisi taught in her secret literature class, in preference to the novels they read. I found, however, that the small glimpses we had of their real lives worked well. The autobiographical nature of the book means there can be no omniscient the narrator, and indeed, Nafisi is in the dark about as much as we are. All we can know about the students is what they were willing to tell in the classes, what Nafisi could glean from her social circles and what she was able to find out in retrospect. We don't have access to their inner lives, and that, of course, leaves a lot of questions.

Azin's marriage is a case in point. This seems to fit the sadly common pattern of domestic abuse (apparently unrestricted by cultural differences): episodes of violence driving Azin to her friends, even to lawyers, followed by contrition and promises by the husband, which hold for a short time and then, almost inevitably, it happens again. The narrator can never sure if Azin is telling the whole truth about her situation, and neither are we. It's more realistic that way.

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